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Cumming library hosts ‘Just Kids’ photo exhibit
‘Just Kids’
Photo by Alexander Popp - photo by Alexander Popp

Children have always been a unique and constant focus of art through the ages, from cave painting depictions of mother and child from the dawn of man to high resolution photographs of little ones playing in the park; everyone loves seeing their kids. 

But that art is often woefully devoid of children with intellectual or developmental disability just being a kid and enjoying life. 

Until Sept. 16, the Cumming Library and the Forsyth County Public Library System will host a collection of art work dedicated to showing those overlooked children, giving viewers a front-row seat to their lives and their story with a series of 16 photographs in the “Just Kids” exhibit by Atlanta photographer Ryan Johnson.  

“I think it’s wonderful for patrons to experience both the art of the photography, which is exceptional, but also the subject matter I think really paints a beautiful portrait of families,” said Tracy Walker, library programming manager. “And I think sometimes families who might not have someone with a disability, might not see the joy and the beauty that many families experience.

“These photographs really exhibit that beautifully.” 

According to a library press release, this exhibit was made possible by Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS), which provides eligible Georgians access to free braille books, magazines and audio materials, and the Blue Path Group, “an Atlanta-based consultancy committed to bringing the work of talented artists to wider audiences and putting that work into places that invite conversation and learning.”

“What strikes me about Ryan’s work is how true these photos are,” said Elizabeth Labbe-Webb, principal of the Blue Path Group. “For many people, it’s like they can only see, and may fear, the challenges involved. They can’t conceive of the enjoyable times and love within these families. I believe Ryan’s work can help change that perception.”

Among the portraits in the exhibit, the release states that “Just Kids” depicts a number of families from the Chattahoochee Valley Down Syndrome Association. 

The release states that during the exhibit’s original three-month run in early 2017, it was so well received that the run was extended to 19 weeks. 

The “Just Kids” exhibit will be open to the public at the Cumming Library during normal hours, Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m,, the release stated.  

For more information about this exhibit and other programs visit the library system online at www.forsythpl.org.